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Club News

A VERY COMPETITIVE DERBY

24 September 2016

Iron manager Graham Alexander has hailed his team’s second half performance following the 2-2 draw with Sheffield United.

The visitors took a first-half lead through Chris Basham before Josh Morris levelled things up just after the break and goal scorer Basham was then given his marching orders following a lunge on Neal Bishop.

Scunthorpe went ahead with just under ten minutes to go after a brilliant long range strike from Duane Holmes but ex-Iron Billy Sharp equalised with a penalty late on to ensure a share of the spoils.

At the end of the game, Alexander praised the way his players regrouped after going behind and told The Iron PlayerHD: “It was a very competitive derby and I thought it was two good teams who showed a lot of respect to each other.

“They managed to score with a very clever set piece and took the lead into half-time but in the second half, I thought we upped our game and the tempo we played at.

“We caused them problems and deservedly got two goals with two fantastic strikes but Sheffield United have got some good quality in their ranks and they managed to win that penalty and put it away.

“We played against Charlton on Tuesday and Sheffield United today, two massive pre-season favourites, and we’re not going to get it all our own way but we have to find a way of winning and breaking teams down.

“I thought the players were superb in the second half and it’s just a sore one to take given that we’ve possibly dropped two points at the end.

“There’s no need for the players to feel down though because their efforts have been superb so far this season.”

The boss opted for a slight change in formation, sending his squad out in a 4-3-3 with Kevin van Veen up front and Morris and Holmes on the flanks.

Delighted to see both wingers score during the clash, Alexander was full of acclaim for the duo.

“We know how we can play, committing defenders and playing round them, we just didn’t really do that in the first-half,” he continued.

“The first and second goals both came from passing moves, committing defenders, making space and they were two goals worthy of winning any game but unfortunately that wasn’t the case.

“I actually joked with Duane before the game about him scoring his first goal and he said he’d take anything so to score with a strike like that is fantastic for him.

“We know the threat Duane carries. He commits defenders, goes beyond them and he deserved that goal because his work rate was superb for the team.

“The squad are down at the moment but there’s no need for that because we’ve got another big game on Tuesday and I’m delighted with the players so far this season.”

One big plus point for United was Tom Hopper’s return to the matchday squad, following a brief period on the treatment table.

Able to bring both Hopper and Paddy Madden on during the second period, Alexander highlighted the importance of every man playing their part over the course of the campaign.

He added: “Hops was a massive surprise for us because we didn’t expect him back so quickly but he’s got a great work ethic.

“He did everything that was asked of him by the physios and he got his rewards by coming back sooner than expected.

“We know he looks after himself and I thought he came on and contributed, as did Paddy.

“The most important thing at any club is the team and we need to have more than 11 good players if we want to be successful this season.

“We feel we have a highly motivated group and they are going to need to share the load over the next nine months.”

See much more from Graham Alexander, Duane Holmes and Richie Smallwood on The Iron PlayerHD.

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